Can you help us in the new library?
Can you help us in the new library?
The Welsh Government has announced that 20mph legislation will figure in this year’s legislative programme.
The public consultation on changing the default speed limit on residential streets from 30mph to 20mph is now open until 1st October 2021.
You can find the public consultation here: https://gov.wales/proposal-reduce-speed-limit-20mph-residential-streets
(The Editors are not responsible for opinions expressed, although every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of the information. The editors reserve the right to protect the anonymity of anyone who wishes to contribute articles or letters for the magazine provided they are aware of the identity of any such person. )
Whoever withheld their name in last month’s edition complaining about fireworks should consider the couple who had to postpone their wedding 3 times and eventually had a small socially distanced ceremony at home. Fireworks were set off within the parameters of the law.
Mother of the Bride
Colin, Kathryn and David Thomas would like to thank friends and neighbours for the large number of letters and condolence cards they have received following the sudden death of Chris on the 19th May. Many thanks
I heard about this Exhibition at the National Museum in Cardiff quite by chance, but am so glad I paid a visit there last week as I found it extremely enjoyable and informative. I booked a slot to visit the Museum online , and the Exhibition , located on the Ground Floor, was free and REALLY interesting to any Richard Burton fan. The 2 videos were well worth watching, and all the memorabilia quite fascinating, bringing many a smile and mini walk down Memory Lane.
The coffee shop nearby is open, so you can have a breather half way through if needed. Do go, and, if you enjoy it too, recommend it to your friends as it does not seem to have been advertised widely enough, and is there until the Autumn.
Thank you to everyone for your offers of help and support since the recent unfortunate incident. I have always felt fortunate to live in this community but never more so than now.
JUNE CARERS WALK
The walkers gathered under a bright blue sky at Barry Island and after the relentless rain throughout the month of May, there was a holiday mood as the group set off for Jackson’s Bay. Chatting happily and enjoying the warmth, paddle boarders and swimmers greeted the walkers as they turned into the Bay. A new carer joined the group and she was soon involved in the conversations that were taking place. Dazzling sunshine cannot be guaranteed on every walk, but we do promise splendid company and the opportunity to get some some fresh sea air and gentle exercise!!
STRESS BUSTER STROLLERS
From July Valeways will offer a new walk: the Stress Buster Strollers. Everyone can experience stress, resulting from an array of anxieties, for ex-ample, about family, work, money, health, retire-ment, lack of sleep, bereavement. Stress can make people feel frustrated, upset, angry or nervous and can lead to people feeling lonely, cut off and isolat-ed. In order to try to ease some of these feelings, Valeways will offer a Stress Buster stroll: a safe, guided walk by the sea and through woodlands, with a friendly, sociable group where people can chat freely. It is not a professional counselling service, just the offer of some time and space in the fresh air to hopefully provide a boost in mood and energy. The NHS encourages people with its Every Mind Matters initiative to live a healthy, active life. One of their tips is to go walking, as this activity is one proven way to relieve stress and have a positive im-pact on the way an individual can feel. If you would like to enjoy a short stroll in beautiful surroundings and hopefully enrich your mood and outlook, please come and join the Stress Buster strollers on the last Tuesday of every month, meeting at 10 30, next to the Romilly Park tennis courts.
Pontiscill/ Taf Fechan
This is a walk planned for last autumn but abandoned, due to a landslide (still in evidence all these months later). This time the road was open but as we passed Pontiscill reservoir a large coach came in the opposite direction and our convoy had to back up to allow it to pass which was not easy on such a narrow road. Then the Owl Grove car park, Taf Fechan Forest, was shut but there had been no notice on their website (currently closed in the week and open at weekends). We had to drive up the road to Torpantau station where we were able to park as the steam train was not running. Phew! Now we could get on with the business of walking.
Our route was to the Lower Neuadd reservoir and back down the Taf Fechan (4 miles) with a possible extension to the foot of Cribyn.
The track from Torpantau station is excellent and that day the weather ideal for walking, temperature exactly right and no rain.
Walking up the valley we were almost constantly serenaded by larks flying high above the moors. Causing two of us to chant ‘Ark, Ark the Lark in Cardiff Arms Park’ (with apologies to Max Boyce).
Crossing the stream of Nant y Gloedd we had to decide whether to continue or walk across the bottom of Lower Neuadd reservoir for our return. Everyone voted to continue uphill towards the foot of Cribyn. And were we glad we did. Soon, one person heard our first cuckoo of spring, but it only called once. A second person heard it on our return down the valley but again it only called once.
A bit later we spotted a bird of prey flying across our path ahead, we quickly realised it was a kite and watched its swooping flight. Before long, a second kite had joined it and they swooped and turned together until they flew off to the distant mountains. A wonderful interlude.
At the head of the valley and the foot of Cribyn is a col where a huge vista opens with Brecon and Powys spread out below a steep drop. We stopped here in sunshine for lunch and in no time a pony (part of a herd grazing nearby) came over and approached each of us in turn in the hope of food. We all resisted, and it eventually returned to grazing with its mates. As we ate, we saw a steady stream of cyclists, struggling up the steep hill. As they crested the col, they each breathed a sigh of relief and stopped.
Now it was time to retrace our steps to the reservoir. We spied a plane in the sky which appeared to be climbing vertically, both the plane and the ascent were unusual, but the latter was probably because of the high hills.
Work is being done to restore the Lower Neuadd reservoir and it will bring the local water closer to its former, natural course before the dam was built in 1884. The reservoir is no longer needed as a water resource so the existing dam will be modified to allow water to flow naturally through the valley.
A public footpath and new bridge will be installed to allow continued enjoyment of the walking area – with the existing footpath diverted while the work is carried out. Any area where work is done, including work to the dam, will be restored to ensure the beauty of the local area is maintained and an improved natural ecological habitat provided.
Water levels in the reservoir are being steadily reduced to ensure work is undertaken safely with the least disruption possible to local wildlife and habitat. Welsh Water has ensured fish have been moved to a new habitat. This will be monitored and, by removing a significant barrier to fish and restoring the downstream passage of sediment, the work will have major benefits to habitat connectivity on the Taf Fechan.
Our return was along the west side of Taf Fechan. The sun was quite hot now, so we appreciated the sound of water and some shade from trees. Arriving at the Owl Grove car park we found it had just opened for the weekend! But we had to trudge uphill to our cars in the heat of the day, a warm end to a fabulous walk.
A big bonus was that the Barn tea rooms were open, and we had tea and cakes or ice cream. Walk 8.5miles, 1200ft. Map OL12.
The first official Wenvoe Walkers mid-week walk started at Victoria Park. On a bright sunny afternoon, we took in Thompson’s Park, Llandaff fields, Pontcanna and the river Taff before circling Llandaff cathedral and making our way to Insole Court where we had drinks. So good to be together again.
Chicken & Chorizo Paella
1 tbsp olive oil
2 large chicken breasts, skinned and cut into chunks.
2 small onions, finely slices.
2 fat garlic cloves, crushed.
140g cooking chorizo, sliced.
1 tsp turmeric
pinch of saffron [optional]
1 tsp paprika
300g paella rice
850ml hot chicken stock [2 chicken oxo cubes]
200g frozen peas
1 lemon wedged and finely chopped fresh parsley to serve.
Heat the oil in a deep-frying pan over a high heat, Add the chicken and brown all over- don’t cook completely. Once browned, transfer to a plate. Reduce the heat to low, add the onions and cook slowly until softened, about 10 mins. Add the garlic, stir for 1 min, then toss in the chorizo and fry until in releases its oils. Stir in the spices, then tip in the rice. Stir to coat the rice in the oils and spices for about 2 mins, then pour in the hot stock. Bring to the boil, return the chicken to the pan and simmer for about 20 mins, stirring occasionally. Add the peas and simmer for a further 5 mins until the rice is cooked and the chicken is tender. Season well and serve with the lemon wedges and chopped parsley.
Horseradish Baked Salmon
2 slices bread, crusts removed.
2 tbsp horseradish sauce
2 tsp chopped thyme or 1 tsp dried
4 thin skinless salmon steaks, about 150g each
1 small Savoy cabbage, shredded.
2 rounded tbsp 0% Greek yogurt
Heat oven to 180C fan. Whizz the bread into crumbs in a processor. Tip crumbs into another bowl, add the horseradish and thyme, season and mix well. Put the salmon in one layer on a lightly oiled baking tray. Divide the crumbs into 4 and press firmly on to the flesh, then bake for about 10 – 15 mins. Put the cabbage in a large pan with a little salt and pour in boiling water to come to about halfway up. Cover and cook for 8 – 10 mins until tender. Drain well, then return to the pan with the yogurt and plenty of black pepper. mix and reheat gently. Serve on plates with the salmon. Boil baby new potatoes, butter well and serve as an extra vegetable.
From warmer days in May onwards you could find Dragonflies in your garden. Whilst it helps if you have a pond, they can fly some distance so most gardens will receive a visit. Dragonflies are bigger insects and usually rest with their wings stretched out at 90 degrees to their body. Damselflies are much daintier and mainly rest with their wings alongside their bodies.
If you do not have a pond the best places to see the larger Dragonflies are either the pond in the Community Orchard off Station Road or the Salmon Leaps. One of our largest Dragonflies, the Emperor, can be found on the Salmon Leaps ponds, patrolling up and down and catching smaller insects in mid-air. If you walk through the woods to the Salmon Leaps you might also see two very attractive Damselflies, the Banded and Beautiful Demoiselles.
Dragonflies lay their eggs often under water or near the surface and the larvae can take anything from 2- 3 months to 5 years to mature during which time they are voracious predators eating worms, snails, leeches, tadpoles and even small fish.
When ready to emerge the larvae climb up vegetation and the adult insects breaks out of the larval skin. You will often see exuvia on these plants which is the remaining skin once the adult has flown off. Dragonflies were one of the first winged insects to evolve and this was around 300 million years ago and some of these were the size of our seagulls.
THE CHURCH TOWER AT WENVOE
In 1699, the church tower was moved from the north side of the church to its pre-sent position at the west end of the church. In the absence of any documentary evidence for this re-building of the church tower in the late 17th century, we have to look at the national and local situation that the village of Wenvoe found itself in.
In 1688 King James II had fled the country. While in exile he was still king and the succession was confused because his son Charles (Bonnie Prince Charlie) was in France. Meanwhile, William of Orange had been invited to the throne of England with Mary, the eldest daughter of James to “ Protect the Protestant Religion and the Glorious Revolution and the liberties of the people”. They were crowned in 1689 as William III and Mary II. Mary died in 1694, and William died in 1702 upon which Queen Anne succeeded. How much these events affected life in Wenvoe is a matter of supposition. Were these momentous events in the national life announced from the steps of the Church Cross in the churchyard or did the fact that the prayers in church for the Royal Family bring home the changes in national life?
The earlier generations of the Thomas family at Wenvoe Castle, had supported Oliver Cromwell’s Commonwealth, at the end of the 17th century. The 1st baronet Sir John Thomas had strong royalist feelings having been advanced to the dignity of a Baronet, by William and Mary on 24th December 1694. The family held the advowson* of the living of Wenvoe Church and made the appointments of a priest to the church. At the time we are concerned with, the Rector of Wenvoe was Philip Hawkins who had been appointed in 1681 on the death of Samuel Hughes. The Rector and two churchwardens appointed at the vestry meeting, held each year, looked after the fabric of the buildings by use of the Church Rate. This was money raised from every house and portion of land within the parish boundary, for keeping the fabric of the church in good order. The amount they wished to raise was decided by them and the people meeting together each year.
The church rate was not a popular means of taxation, and non-payment saw the parishioner hauled up before the Justices of the Peace. In later years with the growth of Non-conformity, this payment to the established church was a source of discontent as the church received payment from the Government of the day towards their running costs, while the non-conformists had to pay their own way in building their meeting houses and chapels.
At the end of the 17th century, Wenvoe Church was in need of repair. The church tower on the north side of the church must have been in a dilapidated condition, and the radical decision to move and rebuild at the west end was taken. At this time, the church building consisted of a nave and chancel, separated within by a low archway. The roof was much lower than to-day’s roof and burials were taking place within the church itself, for the local gentry and other persons of note. The Rector, with the encouragement of the Thomas family and his churchwardens, must have used the Church Rate to fund the demolition and re-building of the tower, and perhaps with some financial support from the Castle.
The poor and dangerous state of the tower could be attributed to the after effects of the Battle of St Fagans in 1648. When the village war memorial was being built in the 1920s a cannon ball was found, indicating that the effects of the war had spread far and wide in the villages surrounding St Fagans. Church towers were often places where the local muskets, rifles and pikes etc. were stored for use by the local militia, when called upon in defence of the realm, and were places of defence and so targets to be attacked during the fighting.
During the construction phase, the church building must have been out of use for some time, and from the parish registers, the following has been extracted over three years 1698, 1699 and 1700.
In 1698 there were 8 Baptisms between June to Dec.
In 1699 there were 6 Baptisms between May and Jan.
In 1700 there were 11 Baptisms between June and March
In 1698 there was 1 marriage in Sept.
In 1699 there were 3 marriages between Dec. and Feb..
During this time the year ran from on March 25th to March 24th.
Baptisms and Marriage services would have needed the use of the church to perform these, but there are lengthy gaps in time between these events.
The only firm evidence we have is the plaque on the west face of the tower recording the rebuilding. This plaque is a replacement for the original, and was placed there, gratis, in 1935, by Mr Sid Llewellyn.
The original plaque sets out the account of removal and rebuilding
“THE TOWER OF THIS CHURCH WAS REMOVED FROM THE FARTHEST PART OF THE NORTH SIDE OF THE BODY OF THE CHURCH TO THE EAST AND WAS REBUILT IN THIS PLACE IN THE YEAR OF OUR LORD 1699. Wil Morgan, Wil Wade Churchwardens.
However, in 1890 Mr Frank Bright wrote an account in a publication called St Peter’s Chair (a copy of which is in the G.R.O. in Cardiff) of a visit he made to Wenvoe Church and recorded that there was a Latin inscription as follows, which was not inscribed on the replacement tablet. “Procol O Procol este Profani” a translation is “Keep away, O Keep away you profane ones”.
Why this was not included could be down to the fact that the lettering was by this time deeply eroded and could not be read.
The purpose of writing this account marks the present on-going work to repoint all four faces of the tower due to frost damage loosening the mortar infill around the masonry. Not only is this a danger to the general public, but the work will restore the tower, making it fit for purpose for future generations.
Parry Edwards, May 2021
(* Advowson or patronage is the right in English law of a patron to present to the diocesan bishop a nominee for appointment to a vacant ecclesiastical benefice or church living, a process known as presentation.)